Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"The Voyager Conspiracy"

Out of all the possible moralizing Star Trek could preach on, how long would you guess the franchise would have to go before believing in absurd conspiracy theories came up? The answer is 33 years, which is an indication the franchise is running out of steam, no? The plot idea comes across as bad on the surface. It is predictably terrible in its execution.

Seven gets a new gadget in which she can download all the sensory data from Voyager directly into her Borg implants. She can then process the data to find ways of making the ship run more efficiently that were so minute, no one else could put the pieces together. Her first act is to string together a seemingly unrelated sequence of events to determine a nest of insects is a burden on some obscure system. Encouraged by her success, seven dares to download more.

Voyager comes across an alien who is building what looks and sounds like a wile E. coyote purchase from ACME. It is a space catapult. The alien says he fell through a wormhole and landed ten years from home. Instead of making the journey, he decided to build this catapult to fling him across the distance and catch the roadrunner in one swoop. The only problem is that, although he can come up with a device like this that no one on Voyager has managed to do, he still needs their insight to fix a final problem before a test run. His need for Voyager’s help is the lest implausible element of the episode, believe it or not.

Seven downloads too much data for her mind to process, so she begins to piece together evidence of a conspiracy that does not exist. She takes Chakotay aside and explains to him in excruciating detail how Janeway stranded them in the Delta Quadrant on purpose in order to map out the quadrant for a joint federation/cardassian invasion that will come through the catapult. The wild part is not the mind numbing exposition it takes to explain the conspiracy, but that Chakotay believes her immediately. Chakotay is not supposed to be dumb as a brick, but he not only buys into Seven’s theory, but but raises suspicions with other Maquis about it. Maybe I am being rough on him. Considering Janeway’s psychotic behavior, he may have good reason to suspect she is up to something.

After seven downloads more data, she becomes convinced the same set of facts show that Chakotay is planning to use the catapult to revive the Maquis and attack Federation and Cardassian targets. In other words, we have to sit more mind numbing exposition, which is merely a variation of everything we just heard before the previous commercial break. By pointing out her mistakre in downloading more data than she could process. Did we really need to hear it all over again just to emphasize the point that Seven is incorrect in her conclusion? Sheesh. I need some No Doz to get through this stuff. Janeway does not buy it, but Seven decides the best thing to do is destroy the catapult either way. She steals a shuttle to do so, but Janeway is able to soothe her mind. Seven is satisfied way too easily, but allows the use of the catapult . It is a split success: they get 200 light years closer to home, but do not catch the roadrunner.

“The Voyager Conspiracy” is awful in both concept and execution. How could anyone involved possibly believe seven’s theory? The only way Chakotay can is by ignoring all the numerous instances that the conspirators could not have foreseen--time travel, Janway’s threatened use of self-destruct, time travel, and most importantly, the random times in which they have been able to travel great distances in short order. There is no way anyway could have known they would reach the catapult at this particular point in time. Yet Chakotay especially believes the conspiracy is true! This is a very bad, very needlessly talky episode. Watch only if you need an insomnia cure. Seven running through her facts twice will have you snoozing in no time.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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